December 30, 2021
Dear Catskill CSD Families,
We hope you are enjoying a restful holiday break with your family. As we look ahead to the New Year, the health and safety of our students and staff remains our highest priority.
Our schools will be open, as scheduled, on Monday, January 3 for all students. This decision was made collectively along with the superintendents of the component school districts within the Questar III Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), in consultation with BOCES leadership, the Greene County Department of Public Health, and the NYS Department of Education. However, we are putting additional health and safety measures in place to mitigate the spread of COVID and keep our schools open for learning. On Tuesday afternoon, Governor Hochul held a webinar with superintendents to discuss her desire to keep schools open across the state. She pledged millions of test kits to provide to school districts through their local BOCES.
While the Governor’s goal was for families to administer these tests at home prior to their children arriving from break on Monday, there are many obstacles with this given the timing of the holiday break. In a memo to school districts yesterday, State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett indicated that districts could use the kits to implement Test to Stay, test on the first day back (for those who previously consented to testing), or as part of ongoing surveillance testing. We anticipate the test kits arriving at some point next week.
COVID Testing After Returning from Holiday Break
- As previously stated, the at-home test kits have not yet been delivered. We will notify you when they arrive and provide information on how we will distribute them to families.
- Anyone who tests positive on a take-home test should immediately report their results to the school and begin isolating. Families must report any positive at-home test result through their school as well as to Greene County’s website at www.greenegovernment.com/report-positive-covid-test.
- Students who test positive must isolate for 10 days and can return to school on day 11 if they no longer have symptoms. At this time, individuals cannot test out of quarantine or isolation.
- Taking part in testing is voluntary. We strongly encourage that you utilize these home test kits for your children when they become available. If you or others in your household need to be tested, please visit https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/find-test-site-near-you to find a nearby testing site.
Test to Stay Update
- Last week, the state updated guidance on Test to Stay to reduce the number of students and staff who would be excluded from school following a COVID exposure. At this time, our local health department is reviewing and assessing the equity and feasibility of this Test to Stay strategy throughout the county. Local school districts and the BOCES will continue to monitor local conditions in partnership with our local health departments.
- The New York State Department of Health has not yet adopted the CDC updates on shortening quarantine and isolation for the general population. The state has only adopted this reduction for essential workers. As a result, the quarantine period remains at 10 days. If there are any changes, we will communicate them as soon as possible.
- A notice from the Greene County Director of Public Health, Kimberly Kaplan: The Greene County Department of Public Health works closely with the Greene County School Districts to protect the health of your community. When you receive a call from your school regarding the quarantine of your child, that directive is effective immediately. Do not wait to be contacted by the Department of Public Health, which may be delayed due to the unprecedented spread of the COVID-19 Virus.
We are seeing the impact of the omicron variant throughout the region and state. We ask for your continued cooperation in following our established COVID protocols, including mask wearing, physical distancing, and staying home/keeping your children home when sick. We will continue to keep you updated with any changes to conditions or protocols. Thank you for your continued partnership and patience.
Dr. Ronel Cook,
Superintendent of Schools.